State of the Game: Tax Season

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It’s tax season here in the US, so of course that means a bunch of us will have already received (and/or spent) our tax returns. I received mine the other day, and of course that means I had to spend a bit of money on some new(er) games that I have had on my wishlist. I split my investment between both the PC and my PS3, but with some added bonuses I’ll describe below. Between being a Playstation Plus member and knowing where to look for a decent deal, I feel that I got a pretty good bang for my buck, and definitely didn’t spend a fortune. The full list is Telltale’s Game of Thrones and Tales From the Borderlands, Hotline Miami 2, Helldivers, and Darkest Dungeon. I also got some RP and picked up some stuff in League of Legends. But that was the extent of my splurge. This will keep me busy for a while.

I’ve played a bit of each of these games, save for Game of Thrones. That one I’m planning to play tonight possibly, but I’m not entirely sure, might be going out with a friend. I did play through Episode One of Tales From the Borderlands though, and must report that the balance of QTE and discussion with other random events and bits of lore, feels spot on for this game. I’ve enjoyed the evolution of the company’s games. I’m not going to go any further with that line of writing though, because I have a full post planned for that title. I’ll be doing the play-through write-ups with my choices for both of these TellTale games, as I have done with others in the past. I also should mention I bought the PS3 versions of these games. I decided to keep all of my TT games on one system.

Continuing on with the PS3, Hotline Miami 2 is a blast. It’s basically the same as the original, I haven’t noticed any real differences, but if you enjoyed the first game, you’ll definitely enjoy this one. More of the same isn’t bad in this case, but if you didn’t enjoy the first game you probably should skip this one, it’s not changing the formula here.

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Same combo system, same ability to execute those you didn’t kill with bullets (so you can choose to be stealthy or just mow everyone down), same masks (though the power up effects might be different, I’m no expert there), same game play. I love it though, and because I had the original on my PS3 and this title was on sale for Plus members I picked up on the console. I’ve only finished the first couple of chapters so this will be on the playlist for a while longer.

Next up is Helldivers, which is a strange mishmash of genres. There is twin-stick shooter combat (aim with one joystick, move your character with the other, 3/4 view), but a mission hub that feels very much like being on a ship in Mass Effect, and then RPG elements where you get to customize your character, their loadout, and their perks/abilities. There’s a bit of strategy in there as well, when looking at the map that allows you to pick a sector and help “push it” towards the enemy homeworld, where a larger scale battle is supposed to occur (I haven’t reached this point, so I can’t comment, but they give a brief description of how it works in the tutorial). I chose to push a particular sector, and this is when you complete missions on various planets.

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Completing the objectives, you are then able to call for an extraction, where you will fight enemies until the drop ship lands. You’ll then be back at the mission hub, where you can change your gear in the Armory, do scientific research, and choose the next mission.

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Each mission and planet completed adds to your contribution to the galactic fight. Eventually you should be able to push your territory to the homeworlds of each race, destroy them all and take control of the whole thing, but I assume it would reset at some point. I suppose I’ll be able to tell you more when I play more of it.

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I picked up Darkest Dungeon on the PC (obviously). This one has been on my wishlist for a while, mainly ever since Isey started posting his blogger trials and tribulations. I absolutely love the art style and the game play is solid. I like the turn based strategy aspects of the battle, but it can be quite frustrating. I haven’t had a death just yet but some close calls. I only played through the tutorial and one mission though, so I’m not super far just yet. Thinking of starting a new game now that I understand more about it, and following along with the blogger idea, since Isey seems to have trailed off from it. So look for more about this title coming soon.

Lastly, as I mentioned I picked up some RP and spent it getting the Bard + Skin bundle, along with cheap skins for Morgana and Sion. I have had good luck with both of those characters this season and I didn’t own skins for either, so I rectified that. And Bard is simply a fun to play support. I love how you can push a lane out, run and collect a few chimes, then use his magic tunnel ability to gank an unsuspecting carry (or midlaner, if you’re really winning bot lane and can roam). I haven’t played him in ranked yet because I want to practice a bit more, but I love what I have seen, and the Elderwood Bard skin is fantastic.

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Here’s the skins I picked up for my other champions:

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That’s all I got for the round up this week. However, look for the TFTB episode 1 play-through, and more on Darkest Dungeon coming this week.

#stateofthegame #roundup